YOUR GUIDE TO ESWATINI
THE TOP FIVE THINGS TO DO
Men are to marry at least five wives or be jailed for life. No cash, you say. No problem. The government pays for the ceremonies. Are you homeless? No worries, they buy you your home as well.
Or so goes the decree from King Mswati III, himself married with 15 wives, who even put a timeline on this fine ruling: June 2019. Of course, since that time has now come and gone, we honestly can't tell you how many of his countrymen have managed to stay out of jail. But you could tell that the king was worried, given that he also invited men from other countries who feel they can manage more than one wife to come over to his country and get wives for themselves. For those who are still unsure, he also declared that getting the wives will be free of charge.
So, yes, in case you didn’t get the finer point we’re trying to make, polygamy in this country is not only legal, but in fact encouraged. Visiting eSwatini (or Swaziland as it was called during the times we visited, until the king whimsically changed the name in 2018) is like stepping inside a culture that to our Western civilization would seem a little, well… odd.
If this makes you want to scratch it off your African itinerary list, take it from us: don’t. The country has some of the most generous and hospitable people in Africa.
And did we mention it has one of the best national parks where you can drive your own car through a conglomeration of rhinos, hippos, and elephants?